Gov. John Carney and Chief Information Officer James Collins announced Oct. 16 that Delaware will again partner with the SANS Institute on an initiative to introduce Delaware high school girls to careers in cybersecurity through Girls Go CyberStart — an interactive, online challenge.

In 2018, more than 180 girls from 22 Delaware high schools participated in the program. Ten Delaware girls earned $500 college scholarships.

“We know that women are underrepresented in STEM fields and we must empower our young women through creative initiatives like Girls Go CyberStart,” said Carney. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with the SANS Institute, which helps us encourage young women in Delaware to pursue a career in cybersecurity, or another STEM field. That’s importance for the strengthen of our workforce, and Delaware’s economy over the long term.”

“It is important that we are intentional about creating opportunities that empower and inspire young people to pursue STEM fields. We are grateful that the SANS Institute recognizes the importance and value of a diversified workforce and partners with us to achieve that goal,” said Collins. “Girls Go CyberStart is a win for everyone because it is a fun way for young women to try their hand at cybersecurity, there is no cost to participate, and we get a chance to help grow our own talent right here.”

“The Girls Go CyberStart competition really impacted my view of cybersecurity and has caused me to consider a job in the field,” said Olivia Lundstrom, a member student at Padua Academy and previous Girls Go CyberStart participant. “I loved how fun and challenging it was to play, and it taught me a lot about cybersecurity that I would have never known had I not played!”

Delaware’s high school students will be participating alongside students from across the nation. Practice sessions will begin Nov. 13. Registration will open Dec. 2, and official Girls Go CyberStart play will begin Jan. 13, 2020.

Male and female college students can participate this year in a companion program, Cyber FastTrack, which opens for registration on Feb. 3, 2020. Play will begin March 4. Cyber FastTrack allows students who excel in the competition to win scholarships for a Summer of Cyber — and to become eligible to win $2.5 million in scholarships for advanced cybersecurity training.

For more, visit girlsgocyberstart.org.